Questions to Ask When Buying a Horse

It’s important to ask a lot of questions when you are considering buying a horse- especially if it is your first horse or a horse for a beginner or back-in-the-saddle mature rider. Questions to ask when buying a horse vary from horse to horse and especially with how you plan to use the horse- but the questions below should be a good starting point of questions to ask when buying a horse.

Question 1. Is it registered, and do you have the original papers? At what point in purchasing would you turn over papers.

This is an important question to ask, papers mean being able to show in breed shows and add value to a horse. Never sign a check or hand over money on a registered horse without seeing the registration papers, and verifying the owner listed on the papers is the seller.

Question 2. What is the horse’s age? How long have you had him? What were his previous homes like? Why are you selling?

This is a great question to ask when buying a horse because it gives you an idea of what kind of baggage he might come along with, and why the current owner no longer wants him.

Question 3. How would you describe his personality? Is he suitable for a beginner/intermediate/advanced rider?

It’s important to find a horse who’s personality and energy level match your own.

Question 4. How tall is he? What color?

These superficial questions aren’t usually critical, but are good to know. Be aware many sellers lie to represent their horses as taller than they are- when you visit ask if the seller has a measuring stick to prove height, if that is important to you.

Question 5. Who trained the horse?

This gives you an idea of whether it was a do-it-yourself project, which frequently leaves gaps in a horse’s training, or a professional job. Request the trainer’s phone number and call to get an opinion on a horse from the trainer’s perspective.

Question 6. Who is your vet? Will you notify them to release the horse’s vet records to me?

Access to a horse’s medical history can be just as enlightening as a vet check, showing injuries, illnesses, and even whether the horse was regularly vaccinated.

Question 7. Does he need horse shoes or can he go without? How often does he need trimmed/shod?

A horse that can comfortably work barefoot can save hundreds in farrier costs in a year. 6 weeks is average for a horse to need hoof care, a horse with hooves that grow slowly can go 8 weeks, and a horse with fast growing hooves sometimes only 4.

Question 8. What have you used the horse for? What different experiences has he been exposed to?

Has the horse never left the backyard? Or has he done trails, parades, shows, etc. The more experience a horse has the less likely he is to spook or shy at new things.

Question 9. What are his ground manners like? How does he behave when you

lead him
tie him
groom him
load in a trailer
bathe him
ask him to stand for a farrier

These are basic manners for a horse. The easier he is to handle the better

Question 10. Does he have any bad habits? How is he with other horses?

A seller should be up front about any bad habits a horse has. You need to know if he beats up other horses in turnout or kicks on trail rides.

These basic question to ask when buying a horse will help you evaluate whether a potential horse is right for you and when you ask these question when buying a horse you’ll be more informed about the horse you are buying.